April 1: The highly anticipated date when US employers may file new H-1B visa petitions with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the hopes of bolstering their workforce with qualified, foreign talent to fulfill a variety of professional positions.
Every year, USCIS issues up to 85,000 H-1B visas to employers seeking to sponsor foreign-born employees to work in the US in “specialty occupations”, which are essentially jobs requiring a minimum of a US Bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) in a specific field of study to fulfill the duties of the position.
Historically, the demand has far exceeded supply, as US employers filed over 236,000 H-1B petitions in 2016 and 199,000 this past April. To address this imbalance, USCIS accepts all H-1B petitions for the first five business days of April and if the number exceeds the “cap,” a randomized lottery selection process takes place to determine which petitions will be officially receipted and reviewed for further consideration.
EIG works tirelessly to ensure all client cases are prepared and received by the government as soon as the doors open in April. Although the filing deadline is currently four months away, the volume of anticipated petitions in the queue to be filed requires preparation to begin as soon as possible.
What Can I Do Now?
Employer seeking to sponsor new H-1B employees:
The first step is deciding which of your employees has the preferred level of talent to warrant H-1B visa sponsorship. We are already working with our clients to track employee population requiring sponsorship and analyzing H-1B options. If you have not previously worked with EIG, we emphasize the importance of monitoring your employee population requiring sponsorship and are starting to confirm which candidates you will be sponsoring. In either case, being proactive will pay off significantly as we navigate the H-1B petition process. As always, if you have any questions before getting started, please contact EIG to get the ball rolling.
Employee seeking H-1B sponsorship:
We recommend first confirming with your employer that you will be considered for H-1B sponsorship. This can be accomplished through a simple phone call or email with your manager, Human Resources Department, or Global Mobility Team. EIG is standing by to assist with any questions you may have and to ensure that your case receives the proper level of attention and consideration.
As we proceed on this annual journey together, EIG will update you via our weekly Dispatch newsletter, as well as in our ongoing webinar series to provide guidance on next steps and answer any questions you may have throughout the H-1B process. This past year has delivered many changes and new challenges, so stay tuned!
We look forward to working with you.